Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Glasgow's Miles Better

Glasgow's Miles Better

“Glasgow’s Miles Better” was the mid-1980s strap line of a re-imaging campaign which launched the regeneration of Scotland’s largest city. The public and private investment which followed has made Glasgow a superb case study of urban renewal for RGS A-Level Geographers.

Keen to see theory applied to reality, an enthusiastic group of Upper Sixth students persuaded Mike Downie, assisted by Duncan Wilson, to arrange a tightly-scheduled whirlwind study tour of the city. An early Sunday minibus departure ensured arrival in Glasgow in time to sample an urban transect of redevelopment zones across the city. Expert witness was Jill Cronin, Head of Enterprise with South Ayrshire Council, and former Glasgow City Council Senior Housing Manager, who joined us in the city.

Students were engulfed by Christmas shoppers in the vibrant city centre, rejuvenated by cosmopolitan cultural venues, upmarket shopping malls, street art and the family fun activities which have taken over the formal spaces of the Victorian city – on this occasion, a winter wonderland of ice skating and fairground attractions in George Square. 

After lunch in the municipal magnificence of the 1901 Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the group examined the flagship partnership regeneration scheme which is the Clyde Waterfront Project: a reurbanisation of former industrial dereliction with the National Science Centre, Riverside Museum, exhibition and music venues, business park (anchored by the BBC Scotland and STV studios) and architecturally exciting, gentrified housing.

Following the transect outwards, a minibus drive to view how the formerly rundown inner city area of The Gorbals has been recreated into a mixed residential and business location, before heading out to the peripheral Castlemilk estate to see Glasgow City Council’s attempt to redress the balance of poor 1950s’ planning in this low income neighbourhood.

Semi-rural Carmunnock showed how a hamlet of weavers’ cottages had expanded into an attractive commuter village; and a final exploration of East Kilbride’s manifestation of the 1946 New Towns Act led the group to sustenance at Frankie and Benny’s before the long road home.